can you be pro-immigration reform without being anti-immigrant?

This grandma seems to think so. I don’t agree. And while I’m glad she doesn’t seem to be spewing he classic “go home” sentimentality, she still worries me.

A rising force against the tide
A homemaker turned activist leads group’s call for tighter border
— reported by the Houston Chronicle

At 76, Louise Whiteford envisioned a different life for herself by now.


Instead, she’s at the center of a movement in Houston to stem the tide of illegal immigration, marshaling a small but politically savvy core of activists in defense, as she sees it, of the United States of America.


Whiteford heads a 230-member group called Texans for Immigration Reform. And at first glance, the self-effacing woman, who tends to listen before she talks, seems slightly out of place in the heated, sometimes raw debate about illegal immigration.

But it’s a role she’s grown into, finding strength from within as she sees immigration change the face of Texas.

“If I actually believed that opening the border with Mexico would benefit both countries I would have to look at that carefully,” she said. “I just don’t see the benefits. I see the benefits for corporations as far as cheap labor, but I don’t see what we gain as a country.”


“No one that ever comes here illegally should ever get citizenship,” she said. “And we should put a heck of a lot of pressure on Mexico to choke up some money to educate their people, to raise the standard of living and get rid of corruption there.”

Her views have won her support, especially since immigrants took to the streets in March demanding amnesty. And these days it seems as if her phone never stops ringing. It’s as likely to be one of her four children on the other end of the line as it is, say, an interviewer from the Fox News cable channel or a congressman’s staffer in Washington.


She also inherited from him worries about the deterioration of the American middle class; threatened in his day by unions and government officials, and today by the crushing flow of illegal immigrants, Whiteford said.

“If we continue the massive influx of people, we will depress wage levels such that we won’t have a strong middle class anymore,” she said.


She soon decided that illegal immigrants are drawn to the U.S. by what amounts to a perversion of the American dream. The classic Horatio Alger depiction of America as a place where riches were available for anyone willing to work hard was not true in the face of unchecked immigration, she said. With low wages, little opportunity to rise in society and climbing population, illegal immigrants were out of reach of the prosperity that had once brought migrants to American shores.

“I don’t want all these people to come here thinking they are going to have the American dream when they are not,” she said.


Author: Paloma Cruz

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